When it comes to working in December, there are two types of staff those that work in a seasonally affected service role and those that don’t.
Managers across the country are bracing themselves this month as they work to make sure that those in service roles don’t burn out and those in non-seasonal industries don’t mentally check out, before the year ends.
For service workers, the pace is picking up, business is about to peak and the stress of getting everything done before Christmas day amounts to an inevitable month-long panic attack. That said, for everyone else, it isn’t completely plain sailing. The Christmas break represents, for some of us, up to a fortnight of absence or decreased business activity across the board, either we aren’t in or our clients won’t be. That in itself adds to the pressure of “the most wonderful time of the year”.
We thought it high time to get a few pointers together to help you along this season and to survive it unscathed. If we make it, we’ll see you in the new year!
During the festive season it’s important to let go of the reigns a little. Create an atmosphere of joy around the workplace and ensure that your staff feel as relaxed as Santa on the 26th December. Over a third (38.3%) of professionals said that a more relaxed working environment was their favourite part about working over Christmas.
One great way you can do this is by allowing a more casual and festive dress code than usual. After all, who doesn’t love a novelty Christmas jumper! You can also decorate the office or workspace to keep your employees feeling festive.
There are plenty of ways to spread cheer around the office. During the day why not play Christmas music, as for one in four (24%), this is the best part about working the festive season. You can also organise Secret Santa amongst your employees. This doesn’t need to be anything extravagant – set a limit on the spend to keep costs down. As it’s just a bit of fun £5 – £10 is usually preferable.
Allow for a bit of down time every now and then, especially if your workplace is much quieter during this time. Perhaps you could organise a Christmas quiz, give out satirical end-of-year awards, play some board games or do a charity fundraiser. It is Christmas time after all!
Then there’s the big one. The office Christmas party! Depending on the size of your company, you may not choose to host a huge event. But, at the very least, be sure to organise after work drinks or a Christmas meal out for your team. This can help keep staff feeling motivated, as well as giving them the opportunity to socialise outside of the work environment. If you can afford to pay for this event yourself – even better.
Award ceremonies are a popular event in employers’ calendars, which can prove useful in helping to recognize, reward and motivate staff.
The end of the year is a great time to host such events because they enable businesses and staff to reflect on their performance over the past year and celebrate their excellence, as well as highlight areas where there’s room for improvement in the year ahead.
Ceremonies can be company-wide, division-based or held at each of an employer’s sites, which may be necessary for global companies.
Christmas bonuses are a great way to show your appreciation for hard work, not just over the Christmas period, but over the year as a whole. The amount you pay will of course depend on the size of your business and your revenue. However, if you can afford to give your staff a little extra for their efforts, it always goes down well! In fact, this came second on the list of top Christmas perks, with 29.3% of professionals agreeing.
Having to work over Christmas can be frustrating, especially if you’re missing out on social activities or time with your family. Bare this in mind when your staff are at work over the festive period. Take these small steps to help make your workspace and the atmosphere feel more relaxed and full of festive cheer!
The run-up to Christmas is always busy with family commitments and shopping, so flexible working will be appreciated. By allowing your employees to work flexibly you can help them reduce the stress Christmas sometimes causes and enable to balance their work and personal lives.
You can allow your employees to start late or finish early, take extended lunch breaks to do some Christmas shopping, or work from home so that they can be in for parcel deliveries. Some organisations even go as far as giving employees a Christmas shopping day that needs to be taken in November or December as part of their Christmas employee benefits.
If employees have deadlines to meet or are working hard to hit their end of year deadlines provide them with the support they need. It might not help them if Fairytale of New York is playing in the office on repeat so consider what they need from you and find a happy medium between fun and support.
Get managers to work with your employees to recognise when they are most productive and help them manage their workloads by identifying priorities and deciding what needs prioritising and what can wait. Employees may feel a lot of pressure juggling work and family demands and providing the support they need to achieve their goals will improve their motivation and productivity.
Start 2019 on the forward foot and pre-empt – and perhaps even stop, those January blues by looking ahead to what the organisation and the team want to achieve in the New Year. Managers can spend some time with their team brainstorming how they can achieve their goals for 2019 together, identifying problems and solutions.
It’s also a great time to promote HR initiatives that will help employees with their New Year resolutions, such as new health and wellbeing employee benefits or financial wellbeing benefits. You can even run your own in-house health and wellbeing campaign to support your employees with initiatives such as help to stop smoking or get fit in the New Year.
Treats and perks can keep staff motivated in the run up to Christmas and now is a good time for organisations in all industries, and of all sizes, to review their end of year recognition and rewards and employee benefits to ensure their workforce is happy and motivated in the run-up to Christmas and into 2019.
The end of the year represents a huge opportunity to clear house, cleanse working spaces and improve the working atmosphere. Use opportunities of quiet periods of downtime to address housekeeping, shredding, filing and removing the debris that has cluttered your workspace. There’s nothing better than returning in the new year to an invigorated workspace, even if it just means cleaner or clearer desks.
Use the season as a marker for change, thank the person that you’ve struggled to find affinity with this year, send a card, drop a grudge, thank the work friends that got you through, that you couldn’t work without. Show your appreciation – even if through gritted teeth – chances are that any negativity you’re holding on to is just going to eat away at you and not Gemma from Accounts who you really can’t stand. Be the better person and feel better for it too.
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